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Wrestlers surge toward regionals

By Austin Crosier
On February 6, 2019

Max Tempel, squares up in a match earlier this season. Photo Courtesy of Castletonsports.com 

The Spartan wrestling team went 1-1 at home for Senior Night on Friday Jan. 25, and 2-1 on Saturday Feb. 3 in a quad-tournament at Johnson-Wales University.

Last Friday’s senior night three-team-match consisted of the Spartans hosting the Anchormen of Rhode Island College and the Lakers of SUNY Oswego. The Spartans won nine out of 10 matches against RIC with a final score of 40-5, and lost a very close and competitive match to SUNY Oswego by a score of 25-19.

Senior’s Jesse Webb and Mitchell LaFlam along with NEWA rookie of the week, Michael Gonyea, went 2-0 on the day. After gaining the victory via pin fall in the second period of his first match, LaFlam jumped up with excitement and shouted “let’s go” to the Castleton crowd.

“I feel like I feed off of the energy of the people around me,” said LaFlam. “A big win like that fires me up.”

LaFlam’s success would continue with an emotional and hard-fought 7-5 win in overtime. The 197 pound captain from Lebanon, Connecticut would secure the victory with a takedown just seconds into the overtime period.

In the heavyweight division, Jesse Webb asserted his dominance once again, with a 20-5 win via technical fall in his match against RIC and a first period win via pin against SUNY Oswego.

“The impact’s been huge,” said head coach Scott Legacy when asked about Webb’s presence over the past two years. “He has brought a flavor where he just loves wrestling, and he’s a real team-guy, and doesn’t mind the pressure.”

    Webb, Gonyea and Max Tempel shined brightest for the Spartans on Saturday at Johnson-Wales University, where those three went 3-0 on the day.

Castleton was able to record the 25-12 win against Springfield in a back-and-forth match. Following this match, the Spartans fell to #2 ranked JWU 31-9. The trio of Webb, Tempel and Gonyea were the only Spartans to win in this match, all by way of minor decision.

For the second time in program history, Castleton swept all 10 weight classes in their final match of the day against Plymouth State. The 56-0 victory was capped off by wins by pinfalls by Tempel, Cooper Fleming, and Cam Milliken and a 22-0 technical fall victory by Trevor Hoffman.

Moving forward, Legacy has big plans for the Spartans.

“Our mindset is to just to try to get to the regional tournament and qualify as many guys as we can to get out to the national tournament,” Legacy said.

The Spartans will be in action again on Friday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. in Williamstown, Massachusetts against Williams College.

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